How to Write a Short Story?

There is generally a misconception that it is just the longer pieces of stories, fictions, essays that leave a deep impact on the minds of the readers. However, this is not true. Writing is an ‘art’ and it’s the not the length that matters but the quality of the content. ‘Short stories’ are just an expression of thoughts in a more precise version. The main purpose of these stories is very ‘specific’ in nature i.e., to convey a certain message/moral, to propose some mood etc. The writers of such stories just focus on the ‘end goal’.

Step-by-step guide to write an ideal short story:

  1. Build upon your idea: Finding an idea for the story might be very easy for few while being one of the toughest tasks for the others. But, as a writer, it is very important for you to ensure that the idea should flow naturally. It may not be a perfect one, but you would be able to build on it.
  1. Start with deciding a mood: The main purpose of any story is to convey a particular ‘mood’. Thus, it is of utmost importance to pick a mood before you actually begin to pen down your ideas and thoughts. Be it romantic, emotional or a moral based story, that doesn’t matter as long as you stick to any one of them or a combination of them.
  1. Begin with an eye catchy opening: Since these stories are short, an eye catchy beginning is a must since it would ensure that the reader stays hooked up to the story.
  1. Elaborate on your story while keeping in mind the word limit: The best way to ensure this is to read the entire story again and again. This would help you eliminate all the unnecessary details from the story.
  1. Focus on the ending: Just like the beginning of any story, the ending of it also plays a very crucial role else the entire purpose may get defeated. Thus, the ending should surely leave an impression on the minds of the readers.
  1. Keep on editing till you are satisfied: Writing a short story is an art in itself. At times, it becomes really tough to play around with words. In such cases, editing is the key. It helps to eliminate all the irrelevant information from the story, thereby ensuring that it is precise and to the point.
  1. Don’t forget to take feedback: Positive criticism is all that one needs when it comes to such forms of expression. Show your piece of writing to your peers, family and friends. Take their suggestions, but make sure to implement the ones you feel would add value to your story. You can also submit your short stories at various platforms so as to reach your target audience.

Points to keep in mind while writing a short story

  1. Decide the mood to be portrayed: Since the stories are comparatively shorter in length, one can’t afford to portray a lot of moods and emotions in a single story. Thus, the writer needs to be very specific with the moods that he wants to put forth.
  1. Don’t include unnecessary characters: Bringing up too many characters to the story might leave the reader confused. Thus, one should only target the main and the supportive characters while drafting such stories.
  1. Superfluous language: Since such stories aren’t very elaborative in nature, thus one should not experiment much with the language to be used. One should write in one flow so as to ensure minimal usage of words.
  1. Clear and precise point of view: If one deviates from the main point, he may land up exceeding the word limit, which would defeat the entire purpose of a ‘short story’. Thus, the point of view must be very clear.
  1. Keep experimenting: However, all the above stated points don’t mean that one should stick to the cliché and traditional patterns of storytelling. One should be confident enough to make few changes here and there so as to figure out what suits them the best.

You may also like to read: Rules of Writing a Story

What are the various types of short stories?

  1. Drabble: This story is as short as 100 words. Since it is expressed through very few words, it is one of the finest forms to test the author’s story writing skills.
  1. Anecdote: The main aim of anecdotes is to convey a moral message to the audience. The tone of such stories is generally humorous so as to grab the attention of the reader. People of all age groups really enjoy this form of short stories.
  1. Fable: They generally use ‘animals’ as a medium to convey moral messages to the audience. People find this form of storytelling very attractive.
  1. Feghoot: Such stories don’t have a very specific purpose; it just has to end in a pun. However, it doesn’t mean that they require any less skill.
  1. Vignette: They form a part of the long stories; however, their main aim is to elaborate on a particular scene, character or some moment in greater detail.
  1. Sketch: The just talk about some character, or some other details related to a plot, such as location, scene etc., they don’t have a plot as such.
  1. Flash Fiction: They are a very different form of expression wherein the writer focuses more on the intricacies rather than the plot. The beauty of these types of short stories is that they progress very slowly.

No matter what you want to express via your writing, short stories are one of the finest mediums to do so. They are the best means to get the reader hooked up, and that too only for a shorter span of time. Don’t worry even if you are not able to meet your expectations. Writing is an art so all that you need to do is ‘keep practicing’, and you’ll be able to ace this art for sure.


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